After a gap of almost a month, the official Russian-Chechen commission met again in Ingushetia on January 17. Russian Security Council secretary Ivan Rybkin brought an expanded negotiating team with him, including, in his words, people capable of making a real impact on the Russian-Chechen dialogue. Rybkin explained the additions to the negotiating team by saying that, at the present round of talks, the Chechen side has proposed working out an agreement on a single economic and defense space. (NTV, December 17)
Prospects for success do not, however, appear high. The head of the Chechen delegation, Foreign Minister Movladi Udugov, said the Chechen side will insist on renewing discussion of the full-scale Russian-Chechen treaty signed last May. Grozny argues that, when Moscow signed the treaty, it also recognized the independence of the Chechen Republic. The Kremlin categorically rejects this interpretation. From the moment he arrived at the airport in Nazran, Rybkin took pains to stress that Moscow continues to insist on the inviolability of Russia’s territorial integrity. (NTV, January 17)
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